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Ugly Fish

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  547 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Ugly Fish is ugly and big and mean, and he won't share his driftwood tunnel or his special briny flakes with anyone. And that means the wimpy little fish who keep showing up in his tank have got to go. But then one day someone bigger and uglier and maybe even meaner arrives . . . and suddenly Ugly Fish isn't feeling quite so confident anymore.

From Kara LaReau, author of t
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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105th out of 202 books — 145 voters
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19th out of 107 books — 16 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 911)
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Sep 29, 2015 Melki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, fish-sticks
About ten years ago, I happened on a complete aquarium kit at a yard sale for only eight bucks. What a deal, right? Of course it meant a trip to the pet store where the kids and I blew fifty dollars on fish and fish-related accessories. The store clerk was quite helpful as she advised my boys on how to carefully choose their new pets.

"Remember," she cautioned, "if one fish can fit inside another's mouth . . . IT WILL!"

Ugly Fish knows that lesson well. He is big fish (and only fish) in his tank,
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I liked this story but, oddly, I never caught on that it was a story about bullying until I read the author information on the back flap of the dust jacket. I just thought it was a story about how the tables can be turned on mean and self-centered people, and how those who are mean to others can be the victims of meanness in turn. I think what disconnected the bullying idea from the story for me was the fact that Ugly Fish ate his tank-mates. A bully doesn't generally destroy others; he wants th ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Regina rated it really liked it
Ugly Fish is the RULER of his tank and he likes having things his own way. He likes having his flakes each day, and he likes swimming around, but what he doesn't like is sharing any of those things with other fish.
When they enter the tank, with their friendly smiles and happy attitudes he has a very special way of dealing with them.

Ugly Fish is content to live his solitary life until one day, he has a change of heart, and wouldn't you know it, in comes Smiley Fish...a much larger an
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2011 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Great illustrations, and a cautionary tale everyone sometimes needs to be reminded of, regardless of their age: If you act like a jerk, someone is going to settle your hash sooner or later.

Now rest assured, Ms Lareau does not use language like 'jerk' anywhere in this book. Instead it is about a pretty but greedy fish who did not want to share his home, despite repeated attempts to provide him with friends. When he finally comes around to the idea that it might be nice to have some company, his
Mar 02, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, reviewed
Loved the pictures, good moral, entertaining story. The kids laughed a few times, and enjoyed the anticipation of discovering what lesson Ugly Fish was going to learn. I enjoyed that this was a book aimed at bullies instead of a book aimed at those who are bullied. Bullying requires a victim and an aggressor, and it's a problem that needs to be addressed from both angles. This book takes a look at the aggressive side of the equation in a way that is engaging, probably subtle for many kids, and i ...more
Hannah Givens
Sep 15, 2015 Hannah Givens rated it it was ok

...oh my god, that was really violent!
Oct 10, 2011 Monica rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I have read it to children, adults, and college students, varying the message to fit the discussion. For children, there are powerful messages about bullying. For adults, there are messages about workplace politics, and how one should conduct themselves. For college students, I used this book when I taught creative writing and also when I taught a Psychology class. My own children love this book, and can relate on a simple humorous note. It is one to own, not borrow.
Oct 10, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it
Six and four year old love this one. though to be honest I think the fact that they own a fish tank made them the think the moral of the story was, "Of COURSE you don't put fish with big mouths into the same tank as littler fish!!" rather than an anti-bullying/you get what's coming to you message that was obviously intended. ;) great illustrations and a fun read aloud to make different voices for each fish.
Apr 21, 2012 Haley rated it it was amazing
Dr. McCracken's read aloud performance of this book made me love this book instantly. It is an entertaining story that will leave kids laughing and anticipating what comes next. The moral of the story is something that should be discussed after reading because students will have a varied natural response. The illustrations were great and engaging.

Tyler Jing
Feb 13, 2014 Tyler Jing rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
"A nice wooden cave, special flake food, swimming around, what could be better? But this is all MINE, MINE I TELL YOU! I love my life and I'll never share the goodness!" But he'll regret that choice. Being selfish is not the best thing to do in life, which Ugly Fish is soon gonna find out.

I picked up this book when I saw the front cover. I was always a fan of children's picture books. There so fun to read! And I saw the title: Ugly Fish. Oooo... sounds cool. Then I saw the picture. Oooo...looks
Robin Rousu
Dec 27, 2014 Robin Rousu rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, horror
Dark, but funny. Love the colors. Uncertain about intelligence of aquarium owner. Recommended.
Before there was I WANT MY HAT BACK and THIS IS NOT MY HAT there was UGLY FISH.
Feb 27, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing
Week 5
Ugly Fish lives all alone in a's just the way he likes it. One day, one at a time, new fish are added to the tank. Ugly FIsh shows them around, lets them glide in and out of the driftwood tunnel, lets them taste-test the special briny flakes, and then...HE EATS THEM! Bored with no friends to swim with, he wishes he hadn't ate his tank-mates. Ugly Fish gets what he wishes for, but his new roommate is not used to sharing a tank.

"Ugly Fish" is appropriate for ages 4+ (Grades PreK+)
Sep 13, 2010 Luann rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I picked up Ugly Fish at my local library last week based purely on the cover. Ugly Fish stared at my defiantly as if daring me to read him. Not one to be cowed by a mere illustration, I took the book home with me.

Ugly Fish lives in a very nice fish tank all by himself. He has a driftwood tunnel and is fed special fish flakes. Life is great until, one day, a new fish arrives. The new fish wants to be friends with Ugly Fish but Ugly Fish doesn't want to share his tank with anyone. So what does U
Heydi Smith
Jun 25, 2014 Heydi Smith rated it really liked it
So this book is a little crude with fishes eating each other but it is pretty fun and really a book about justice. If Ugly Fish had not eaten his friends then he wouldn't have been lonely and really the larger fish probably wouldn't have been bought.

This is a great book about consequences, about thinking your actions through before you take them.

May 06, 2016 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
This book is the ultimate lesson in karma. I had nothing to go on the first time I opened it and I actually jumped in surprise a few pages in, but I absolutely love it (and so does my 3 year old). The illustrations are just perfect and it's a smooth and fabulous read-aloud. This is a book that should be on every kid's shelf.
Jul 04, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Ugly Fish sees new additions to his tank as nothing more than a mere tasty snack...but, as his need for dominance in the tank diminishes, he grows lonely without some other fish to wander in and out of his driftwood tunnel, swim in his huge tank, and eat delicious briny flakes. Teensy fish, kissy fish, spotty fish and stripy fish all try to be his friends, but all ugly fish does is tease and bully them until, alas, they are no more. Until one day, ugly fish gets a taste of his own medicine and t ...more
Oct 14, 2015 Kim rated it did not like it
Oh my gosh - I did NOT like this book at all! I expected Ugly Fish to find a friend - but instead, he ate the new fish in the tank, and then he faced the same fate when another bigger fish was put into his tank. Totally unredeeming - I am not sure what good qualities I can give this story!
Robyn Jones
Aug 14, 2013 Robyn Jones rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, childrens
4 STARS!! Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon is a surprising read. I'll start there because Ugly Fish is mean and ugly and happy with his solitary existence. Drop in Teensy Fish. If you think this is a heartwarming tale of two opposites coming together you're only right if you mean Ugly Fish chases Teeensy Fish and eats him in one bite. We meet a few more fish for a second before grumpy Ugly Fish chomps them too. This is a total fish snuff book and I laughed the whole time I read it. My s ...more
A cute book about a big ugly fish who rules his tank with terror. He doesn't want to share his tank with anyone. One day a new fish appeared and Ugly Fish chased him and ate him. Then another fish was added and he chased her and ate her. Each time Ugly fish got rid of a visitor he became meaner and meaner. Eventually, he got tired of eating his briny flakes, a swimming through his driftwood and thought "If only I hadn't eaten them". Then a new fish appeared. This one was bigger and meaner than U ...more
Ugly Fish likes his fish tank the way it is. He has his own driftwood tunnel and enjoyed eating his special fish flakes all by himself. One day a new fish shows up and introduces itself. Ugly fish has no need for this new fish. So he chases the new fish around the tank and then eats him. He does this to 4 more fish and is finally free from new fish in his tank. After awhile, Ugly Fish gets bored with his driftwood tunnel and his special flakes aren't special anymore without someone to share them ...more
Brittany Raver
Ugly Fish is a great, fun, and unique story that is not only guaranteed to provide enjoyment for your students, but it also provides a great message about making friends, as well as be thankful for what you have while you have it!
Jun 05, 2016 kristina rated it really liked it
Picture Book - Fishes - Selfishness - Sharing - Loneliness

At first Ugly Fish likes being alone in his tank so much that he eats any fish that tries to share it, but when he becomes lonely, he devises a better plan.
Jess Stewart
Dec 14, 2015 Jess Stewart rated it it was amazing
This is the book that I died when Dr. McCracken started reading it. Such a cute, fun and interactive book to have in your classroom. I hope I can master the Ugly Fish voice by the time I have this in my classroom!
Jill Pickle
Nov 06, 2014 Jill Pickle rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Ugly Fish is like the anti-Rainbow Fish in the best way. A comic, fun to read, vaguely cautionary tale with an outright shocking ending! You will be thrilled to tears/guffaws!
Aug 24, 2015 Alice rated it it was ok
There is a circle of life, but this book just makes me sad. FRIEND NOT FOOD. A little disturbing and not very funny! I get the humor, but like I said, it wasn't for me!
Hope L. Justice
Ugly fish is a bully fish, and this is the circle of life. I quite enjoyed how refreshingly, shockingly honest this book was. very literally, ugly fish is ugly, inside and out, and he gets lonely, and gets what he deserves. very modern fairytale. I loved it.
Ms. Yolie
Jan 13, 2016 Ms. Yolie rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book, but I don't think the story time parents and kids thought it was as funny as I did. Oops
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Kara LaReau was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and later worked as an editor at Candlewick Press and at Scholastic Press. Among other celebrated titles, she edited Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and the ...more
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